Men pledge to end violence against women and children

2013-08-24 14:14

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The Johannesburg Stadium erupted as hundreds of men unequivocally declared that no woman or child would be abused in their names.

They then took a pledge committing to speak out, act and prevent gender-based violence in their homes and communities.

The pledge was taken as part of the first national Men’s Rally to End Men’s Violence Against Women.

The rally was organised by the Brothers for Life Campaign in partnership with government.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who delivered the keynote address at the rally, reminded men that it was their duty to protect women and children. He said: “The rally must unite all South African men to commit their support in ending violence against women and children.

“Today should not be the end of our effort, but the beginning. We go back, engage with our families, co-workers and communities about how we can end violence against women and children.”

Also present at the rally were Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana, Minister of Correctional Services Sbu Ndebele and Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau.

Xingwana thanked the organisers and men who took the time to participate in the rally.

She said: “This day will go down in history as it marks the dawn of a new era that we do have men who care and are united against gender-based violence.

“For a long time, men were portrayed as perpetrators of violence against women and children and therefore seen as monsters (instead of) protectors and providers. As a society, we had lost hope that we have real men in our society who uphold the rights of women, children and people with disabilities,” she said.

Actor Patrick Shai also took to the stage to remind men that the only way this campaign can be a success is if those who participated in the rally took the message back to their homes, workplaces and communities.

Shai, who used to beat his wife but has now become an activist who fights against gender-based violence said: “A real man does not abuse women or children and that is what we should be preaching.”

Xingwana also pleaded with men to stop substance abuse, saying it was one of the contributing factors to the high incidence of gender-based violence in South Africa.

“We jointly should fight the use of drugs such as tik, nyaope and mandrax that are causing instability among our youth in our communities. It is time to reclaim our communities and instil the culture of ubuntu among our youth,” she added.

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